Writers: Ken Pontac
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Published by: DC comics on July 13, 2016
Summary (from dcomics.com):
As the Racers roar through the ruins of San Francisco, Dick Dastardly takes a detour that uncovers a shameful secret from his pre-apocalypse days. Dick has a difficult decision: repeat the mistake that shattered his past, or man up and do the right thing? But does Dick even know what the “right thing” means? Meanwhile, Peter, Penelope and the others face a swarm of flesh-eating nanites that threatens to strip them to the bones.
The main reason that I wanted to read this comic wasn’t because I was sporadically watched Wacky Races as a child. Mainly it was because I was waiting for my Scooby Apocalypse issues and I needed something to tie me over. Let me now relay to you the intense struggle I had to go through to get my hands on this issue.
On Monday I called my supplier (comic supplier that is) and ordered Scooby Apocalypse issues 1&2 from a local comic shop with a very good reputation. On Saturday I call to check the status of my order and they tell me that the order was actually never sent in (NO!) and that they can’t order the second issue because it is completely sold out (NONONONONO). I was a little peeved, but I decided maybe I could try one of the other Hanna-Barbara re-imaginations in the meantime, like Wacky Racelands. So I call the same shop and ask if they have Wacky Racelands in stock. Issue #1 was released in June and Issue #2 was released three days ago so I figured there was a better chance they had those editions. Low and behold my supplier told me that yes, they had Wacky Racelands. Yay! Finally, something to read. So I immediately rush over (obeying all traffic laws of course) and when I get there I head to the closest store associate and ask him to help me find the issue. He smiles and tells me that he was the one who was just talking to me on the phone and starts looking. While he’s looking I’m standing next to him practically bouncing on the balls of my feet, but after he triple checks the store I finally figure out something’s wrong. He turns to me and says, “I’m sorry, I guess we don’t have that one in stock. They’re probably in people’s pick-up boxes.” You can probably imagine that my eye twitched at that point while an irritated smile was plastered to my face.
Later that same day I googled all comic shops in my town and the next town over, grab my landline phone (yep, I still have one of those), and started calling. I ask the same thing, “Do you have Scooby Apocalypse? No? Then do you have Wacky Raceland?” After accumulating a pile of no’s, my only hope is the last shop on the list, whom I’ve never heard of and is all the way on the other side of the next town over. I ask my question without much hope, the guy goes and checks, I wait on the line, and when he comes back he says, “It looks like I’ve got Scooby Apocalypse Issue #1 here would you like me to put it on hold?” My ears and eyes perk up, “You have it? Yes I want it on hold!” Then I ask him about Wacky Racelands and he tells me they have issue #2, but not #1. I’m a bit disappointed about issue #1, but I tell him to go ahead and put that one on hold too. I then rush over and pick them up. The End.
After that experience I’ve learned my lesson: subscribing and having it delivered to your door is mucho convenient.
I remember watching Wacky Races when I was a kid, but it was so long ago that I only vaguely remember the characters. Naturally, I remember the famous ones: Penelope Pitstop, Dick Dastardly, and Muttley. Of course, though I liked the original series when I was a child I’m not a die-hard fan so I was much more susceptible to the character redesigns. Though the redesigns are extremely dramatic.
Dick Dastardly is the star of this issue. His past is revealed as well as his reason for participating in this race to the death. The style of using flashbacks concurrently with present day scenario gives a nice contrast between pre-apocalypse and post-apocalypse. It really emphasizes the dastardly situation the racers find themselves in (hehe).
I went in with the mentality that since not a lot happened in issue #1 of Scooby Apocalypse then probably not a lot went on in issue #1 of Wacky Racelands so starting with issue #2 would be easy. I mean I already know the basic premise: the racers are racing in an apocalyptic wasteland and they need to win. Yeah, NOPE. One thing, and only one thing, is painfully clear after reading this issue—I should have read #1 first. I was so confused on nearly everything else.
One of the biggest downfalls for me is that, although I enjoyed watching Wacky Races when I was a child, I don’t remember all of the different characters. And there are a lot. There are 11 racers, plus extra companions, plus each racer’s sentient car. That’s an incredibly large cast of characters and if you aren’t familiar with them all from the original TV show then it’s harder to decipher them from all the other characters. There is a wonderful spread of all the characters and their cars at the beginning of the title though so at least I know who all the players are.
The artwork is very dark, both the characters and the backgrounds. Because of that, I sometimes get the feeling that the characters, especially the ones without dialogue, can easily get lost in the backgrounds. The action sequences are also incredibly busy. At times there is a lot going on in one panel and it makes it really easy to miss some of the important stuff. In the first read through I was confused about what was happening most of the time, or really why these things were happening.
The character relationships also confused me a little bit. If they are competing against one another than why do they help each other out sometimes? I feel like this scenario doesn’t exactly foster good sportsmanship.
Combining the dark art style and the story telling method of using flashbacks gives this story an air of mystery. I have a whole bunch of questions about the announcer and the logistics of this race. What/where is this utopia? Who/what caused this apocalypse? Was it the announcer? How exactly do these nanites work? Who are the mutants? Former humans? And if so, what’s infecting them?
The biggest thing issue #1 probably does is set up the world as well as establish all the characters. It took me three or four reads of this issue to really understand what was going on. Bottom line: I really need to read these in order. If only issue #1 didn’t sell out in my entire town! However, I have order issue #1 online and it should be arriving in the next few days and I’m pretty excited to read it.
If the future issues are just going to be them racing and fighting mutants and nanites with some flashbacks then I can see this series getting real boring real fast. I think I’m going to avoid subscribing to this series for now and instead pick them up at a comic shop each month. I’m still not totally hooked but my interest hasn’t died out yet either.
For a preview of the second issue: http://www.comicbookresources.com/prev_img.php?pid=33761&pg=1